Furniture store owner opens new location in Rutland
By Gordon Dritschilo
STAFF WRITER | September 23,2013
Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
LaFlamme’s furniture owner Christopher LaFlamme, Jr., right, and store manager Joe Ribeiro discuss a couch available for sale recently.
Christopher LaFlamme is coming home.
The owner of LaFlamme’s Inc., a local chain of furniture stores, has opened his latest location in the former Video World space in Tennybrook Plaza. LaFlamme said he started his family in Rutland and that opening a store here has long been on his agenda.
“The timing’s never been right before now,” he said. “You’ve had four furniture stores close in the last five years. There’s a need for us to fulfill. ... I think when people see what we’re about, that’s why we’re growing in this economy.”
LaFlamme said he specializes in a business model centered on customer service and offering a wide variety of incentives for purchases, from five years of free financing to free televisions.
“Our company slogan, our vision statement, everything is built on this — ‘Not just the store you want to buy from, but people you like doing business with,’” he said. “I don’t always know what the customer wants, but we find out what the customer wants and we deliver.”
LaFlamme operates stores in Bennington and Cambridge, N.Y., as well as, on the far side of the New York border, Granville and Whitehall. He said he likes having two large stores about an hour apart with a smaller one in between them. The Rutland store replaces the location in Whitehall.
“It won’t be seamless,” he said. “We’ll probably have five stores open for one complete quarter and then the Whitehall store will close.”
The new store has been open for two weeks, and LaFlamme said new inventory is still coming in daily. The Whitehall store has roughly $1 million in inventory that still needs to be sold off, a process LaFlamme said he expects to take a couple months.
LaFlamme said he looked at several locations and chose the Tennybrook Plaza in part due to the parking and traffic going by.
“It’s just so charming,” he said. “So homey.”
Nine people work out of the store — four of them full time — though LaFlamme said some of them work at multiple stores.